Paul Ehrlich.

Paul Ehrlich, author of the iconic 1968 book The Population Bomb, now refers to himself as a “mobster.” Okay, so the Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere — the MAHB — is not exactly an organized crime group, but Ehrlich is still raising some ethical eyebrows. After warning of impending global catastrophe for over 40 years, he and his MAHB are bringing together humanists, social scientists, ecologists, and economists to figure out how we might convince people to quickly change course.

The trouble, Ehrlich says, is in our genes. One hundred thousand years ago, when our greatest obstacles were wild animals, food foraging, and “ducking rocks thrown at our heads,” it wasn’t necessary to grapple with huge, hard-to-discern disasters like biodiversity loss or climate change. Alas, our brains aren’t yet up to speed with these fast times. As Ehrlich says, we’ve got “stone age brains with space age technology.”